EU official floats two-stage delay to Brexit

BERLIN (AP) — A senior European Union (EU) official is floating the possibility of a two-step delay to Britain’s departure from the bloc, currently scheduled for March 29.

Britain is expected to seek a short delay if lawmakers finally pass a twice-rejected EU withdrawal deal, or a longer one if they don’t.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told Germany’s Funke newspaper group in comments published yesterday that Britain must know why it needs a delay. He added that “as long as this isn’t clear, Brexit can only be delayed for a few weeks, solely to avoid a chaotic withdrawal March 29”.

Timmermans said, “During this time, the British must tell us what they want: new elections? A new referendum? Only after that can we talk about a several-month extension.”

European Union’s Frans Timmermans delivers his speech during a session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. – AP